The Center Now  



Building Relationships, Families & Communities

Free from Violence



"Conventional wisdom has always held that when we help others, some of the good we do flows back to us." - Allen Luks, Author The Healing Power of Doing Good.


It is my pleasure to welcome you to this edition of The Center Now. The past couple of months here at The Center have been simply amazing!! I know it is common to hear individuals, sport teams etc. refer to being "in the zone." I'm not sure if it is possible for an organization to "be in the zone" but if it is, over the past couple of months The Center has definitely been in the zone!


The first week of September, over 200 of you attended the 30th annual Season for Change gala! Although each gala is wonderful and I always walk away feeling humbled by the generosity of you, our community partners, there was something different about this year's event. This year the gala was nothing short of magical! Your support and commitment to the work of The Center helped us raise over $113,000!! This is the largest amount ever raised at the gala and would not have happened without you.


As you know, each year we dedicate a portion of the live auction to raise unrestricted funds to expand a selected program so that it can reach more individuals. The goal for this part of the program was to raise $30,000. Each of you in attendance donated when combined $28,500. I couldn't have been more thrilled as I know what that amount will do in healing children and families in our community. While all of this was going on, imagine my shock when one of The Center's donors pulled me aside and told me that she would match every dollar being donated! This match brought the total raised that night to $57,000!! Never before have I witnessed such generosity! Be sure to read the article and check out the pictures of this magical night!!


Many of you may not know that several months ago, The Center in partnership with Dr. Larry and Jamie Beutler piloted a 10 week Equine Therapy program. The pilot project was nothing short of transformational for the clients who were selected to participate and the program outcomes encouraging enough that The Center in partnership with Palo Alto University (PAU) and the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology established the Institute for the Study of Equine Assisted Change. PAU has generously agreed to fund the start-up costs and first year operation costs. They have further agreed to ongoing funding as the program continues to show positive outcomes to the program participants.


Lastly, the 8th annual Kacie's Ride for Hope happened the second week of September. This year was by far the biggest and the best. Hundreds of motorcyclists, riders, and spectators gathered on Main Street to raise awareness and funds to support The Center's programs. The sense of community that was present was palpable. We all were moved and encouraged by Kacie's founder Pat Baron's message of hope that change is possible, that violence is a choice and that new tools can be learned and put into practice that will stop the inter-generational transmission of violence. Over the years Kacie's Ride has raised over a $100,000 for The Center and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight!


It is my hope that you will enjoy reading this edition of The Center Now. Thank you for your generosity, your dedication and commitment to building healthy relationships, families and communities! Together we are making a huge difference in the lives of so many families in our community!




Matt Huckabay
Executive Director
(530)626-1450 or


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In This Issue
30th Anniversary Season for Change
Kacie's Ride Wrap Up
MAAP Grad Gets His Life Back
TEACH Reaches New Heights
30th Season for Change Gala

This year's 30th Anniversary Season for Change Gala was one of our most successful ever! We are so grateful to our community for its continued support.


We were able to raise much needed funds for our Second Generation Project that helps children and their non-abusing parent address and begin healing from the trauma created through exposure to family violence.


It was a lovely evening... here is a little taste of the evening if you weren't able to make it!

30th Season for Change Gala

Check out more pictures of the event on our Facebook page.
Kacie's Ride for Hope 2013

It was a warm and beautiful day for a motorcycle ride through Hope Valley as hundreds of bikers came out to Kacie's Ride for Hope to End Domestic Violence.  



The smell of leather and exhaust filled the air as bikers young and old pulled onto Main Street in Placerville on Saturday, September 14th to honor the memory of Kacie Barron who was murdered in her driveway by her ex-boyfriend in 2006.


Pat Barron and his wife Sharon Swayze Barron began Kacie's Ride for Hope to End Domestic Violence in September of 2006 to honor Kacie's memory and to raise awareness about domestic violence and the dangers it poses to families right here in our community.


Kacie's Ride for Hope attracts motorcycle enthusiasts from all over Northern California. The ride in its 8th year was the biggest one to date, boasting hundreds of riders - all gathered together to raise awareness about domestic violence.


Bikes lined Main Street in preparation for an all-day affair. Kacie's Ride began at the Bell Tower in Placerville, continued on through Hope Valley and finished off with a BBQ, raffle and live music at the Diamond Springs/El Dorado Fire Fighters Memorial Hall in Diamond Springs, California. Speakers this year included domestic violence survivor Susan Hamlin, the Executive Director for The Center for Violence-Free Relationships, Matt Huckabay and Kacie's Ride Co-Founder Pat Barron.


The roar of the bikes all starting at once was something to behold! Thanks to Pat & Sharon and all the amazing volunteers who work so tirelessly to put this event together. If you missed it, here is just a preview of the fun!

8th Annual Kacies Ride for Hope 2013
8th Annual Kacie's Ride for Hope 2013
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MAAP Graduate Gets His Life Back
by Eddie Zacapa


Two years ago Joe* put his hands on his wife and physically assaulted her. Throughout his life he had learned to use power and control to resolve conflicts. It was a common staple for his relationships with others. After the assault his wife left the relationship and filed a restraining order.


"This is how I dealt with people," he says of his use of power and control. "It is what I knew. I lost many jobs because of my behavior and it destroyed my relationship with my wife."


Joe was ordered to complete a 52 week batterer's intervention program. He recently completed the Men's Alternatives to Abusive Patterns (MAAP) program at The Center for Violence-Free Relationships.


The first week that Joe participated in the program he was introduced to the cycle of violence. He says that he immediately  identified with the cycle. "I was like...that is me," he recalls, "It was like the facilitator was talking about my story."  Joe proceeded to have an open mind to the material presented in the program and started to identify his power-over strategies. By the end of the program he had a greater awareness of the strategies that he employed in his relationships in the past and an ability to empathize with others and his wife.


"I realize that she was really afraid of me," he says when he recalls how he treated his wife on the day of the domestic violence incident. "I feel awful when I think about how my actions caused her to be scared to death."

Through participation in the group Joe has learned a number of tools that he can use to navigate through conflict. He says he now practices positive self-talk, timeouts, empathizing with the needs of others, disengaging and meditation and prayer. As a result he has had better experiences at work and in his relationships.  


He shared in group on one occasion that he did not receive his paycheck and said that he would have definitely acted out and been fired in the past when something like this occurred. He said that he instead remained calm and tried to empathize with his boss. He said in the past he would have made assumptions and gotten very upset. By talking to his boss about his feelings and needs he was able to resolve the matter and empathize with his boss.  


"Before attending this program I thought that power and control was the only option I had," he says. "Now I realize that I have many options that are not violent."


As Joe's time in the program was nearing its end his wife reached out to him and removed the restraining order. They began to interact with one another again. One evening over dinner she told him that she recognized that he was a totally different person and asked him if he wanted to come home.  


"I had tears in my eyes," he says. "I was so moved that she was willing to have me come home and that she recognized the changes I had made. I have been home for some months now and our relationship is healthy and positive. I am so grateful to this program."


Joe is planning to share his story with others because he wants to help others get out of the domestic violence cycle and to be a part of ending domestic violence.  


"We do not all learn the tools to have a healthy relationship when we are children," says Eddie Zacapa, Positive Solutions Coordinator. "The good news is that someone's beliefs and behavior can change when they are open to learning and are offered the support and tools that they need."


The Positive Solutions Program serves more than 200 men and women each year through Parenting from the Heart, Peace First Conflict Management, Peace in the Home, and our Batterer's Intervention Program. For more information on any of these programs call 530-626-1450 or go to


* The name has been changed to protect client privacy. Everything else remains true.


The Center for Violence-Free Relationships is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual assault and domestic violence through education, advocacy, and services in western El Dorado County. 
The Center is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.  All contributions are tax deductible and vital to continue our services.
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Save the Date MILT

October is Domestic Violence  
Awareness Month



Parenting From Your Heart

Suitable for everyone 

(Co-Parenting 8-week series)

Eddie Zacapa, The Center

Mon, August 19-Oct. 14, 6-8pm

Domestic Violence
Sexual Assault 

24/7 Crisis Help Line


Board chairs   

The Center's Board of Directors


John Moalli, Sc.D.


Executive/Engineering Consultant

Exponent, Inc.

Lecturer - Chemical Engineering

Stanford University


Barbara Bossung, RN

Vice President

Community Activist


Jan Coffrini


Community Activist  


Joedda Wick


Client Services Manager  

DST Output


Matt Boyer 

Management/Policy Consultant

Matthew C. Boyer & Associates

Member - El Dorado County Board of Education

Robert Geyer

Senior VP Customer Operations

Blue Shield of California


Patti Pitts 

  Bank Manager - Umpqua Bank Placerville


Elizabeth Zacharias

VP Human Resources



 Auxiliary Board 

Francie Heim

Retired Deputy Superintendent

El Dorado Office of Education


Doug Hoisington

IT Consultant


Althea Hurley 

Community Activist

TEACH Reaches New Heights

According to, bullying threatens students' physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. Every 7 minutes a child is bullied at school and on any given day, 160,000 children stay home from school for fear of being bullied.


Our very popular TEACH Program is a youth-adult partnership, school supported program dedicated to eliminating bullying and harassment.  This creative program reflects the five supports and opportunities of the Youth Development Framework, as well as incorporating Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets.  Students take on leadership roles by leading school-wide projects in a safe, nurturing environment where they get to express themselves, learn valuable skills, and share information.


TEACH is a comprehensive bully prevention program for 5th - 8th grade students that integrates activities and addresses skill building in body image, self-esteem, boundaries, assertive communication, anger management, healthy relationships, bullying prevention, and conflict resolution.


In the fall of 2012, The Center for Violence-Free Relationships implemented a revised edition of the TEACH Program. The revised program adheres to a prevention model that focuses on the individual's beliefs and behaviors to ultimately prevent violence before it starts. (Way cool, right?)


Well it gets cooler... The Center currently offers the program in select schools in El Dorado County. The cumulative results for Green Valley School (5th graders), Gold Trail School (5th and 6th graders), and Camerado Middle School (7th and 8th graders):

  • 239 students (males and females), 5th - 8th grade students
  • 40 - 45 minute session every week for 23 weeks
  • Students were surveyed in September to determine a baseline of skills & knowledge.
  • The same survey was given to the students in May to measure outcomes.

We wanted to report highlights of the program's success this year and the cumulative outcomes from the surveys. Analysis of questions is based on the Illinois Bully Scale. The Illinois Bully Scale is an evidence based survey that measures a student's frequency of bullying, victimization and fighting behaviors.


We are very pleased to announce these highlights from the Illinois Bully Survey given in May:

  1. Bullying - Students were asked how often they engaged in bullying behavior such upsetting other students for fun, starting arguments, teasing, and excluding other students. Post-program outcomes showed a 43% DECREASE in bullying behavior.
  2. Fighting - Students were asked how often they engaged in fighting and threatening behavior. Post-program surveys showed a 28% DECREASE in physically violent behavior.
  3. Victimization - Students were asked how often they were made fun of, picked on, called names and hit.
    Pre-test to Post test showed a 35% DECREASE in victimization.

We are very pleased with these results and wanted to share them with you. Prevention is the key to ending bullying in our schools. If you'd like more information about the TEACH Program, please contact our Community Education Coordinator, Cathy Bourland at or (530) 626-1450.


Empowerment tree



We have groups that meet once a week for women who have experienced emotional, verbal or physical abuse in their intimate relationships.


Benefits of Support Groups:

  1. They reduce isolation - the most important step in taking back your life.
  2. They provide an atmosphere of acceptance and a source of positive feedback.
  3. The provide an opportunity to be heard by those who understand the cycle of abuse.
  4. They provide bonding and trust building experiences.
  5. They allow for sharing available options, tools and techniques that have worked for others.
  6. They promote decision making and awareness of self determination and choices leading to personal empowerment.


Domestic Violence Support and Education Groups:


Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm


Wednesdays 12:00 - 2:00 pm


Fridays 5:30 - 7:30 pm 


Adults Molested as Children Support and Education Group:  

Mondays 5:00-7:30 pm 


All groups are held at The Center 

Positive Solutions Classes available:

CAP - Women's Changing Abusive Patterns


Peace First - Men's and Women's Workshops on Improving Relationships


MAAP - Men's Alternatives to Abusive Patterns
(English and Spanish)

For more information on these groups call
(530) 626-1450 or
(916) 949-4464